Police recover bodies of NNPC engineers killed by pipeline vandals

IGP Mohammed Abubakar
IGP Mohammed Abubakar

The  Police on Sunday announced the recovery of bodies of the three NNPC engineers killed by suspected vandals in Arepo, Ogun on Sept. 8, as they were effecting repairs on a pipeline.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, who heads the Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, said the slain officials were a Deputy Manager in charge of Pipelines Right of Way (PROW) and two other engineers.

The discovery was made in two shallow graves by the river bank where their assailants had buried them, he said.

Mr. Ibadin said his men combed the creeks near Arepo area for four weeks before they could locate the graves.

“We found, in a decomposing state, bullet-ridden bodies of the three victims. We learnt that the body of the local security guard employed by NNPC, Taye (a.k.a Dead Man), was cut into pieces and disposed of,” he said.

The ACP said that the reports at the disposal of  the police indicated that the team dispatched by the Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, successfully put out the fire by cutting off the product supply.

“The team was on the verge of gaining access to the damaged point to commence proper assessment of the scope of work when the vandals killed three members and injured several others.

“In the course of investigation, six suspects were arrested. We gathered from the confession of one of the suspects that he knew where the NNPC staffers were buried.

“Initially, he took our team to a spot and after several hours, the bodies were not found. Two days later, he opened up and agreed to take us to the real spot.

“It took six hours of sailing to get to the spot. We had 40 heavily armed men, and we took along a pathologist, a coroner, and the medical team from NNPC that eventually identified the bodies.

“They took us to a place where they claimed they bury non-natives. With the assistance of one Bosco, Peter Opidi, and the suspect, we were shown two shallow graves. It was there that we discovered the bodies and they have been deposited at a mortuary,’’ Ibadin said.

The ACP commended the gallantry of the sector commander, DSP Onaghise Osayande and his team, who dared to recover the bodies.

Mr. Ibadin said that investigations were ongoing.

The NNPC authorities had attributed the on-going fuel shortage in some parts of the country to the shutdown of the damaged System 2B pipeline, at Arepo, which carries one third of the nation’s daily fuel needs.

The Acting Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Fidel Pepple, had said that the pipeline was evacuating nine to 11 million litres of fuel from Lagos to Ibadan, Ilorin and the northern part of the country.